Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Can I Avoid Cataract Surgery?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010 09:36 AM

Question: I have a cataract. Can I avoid surgery?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Unfortunately, no. Cataracts are opacities that form in the crystaline lens of one or both of our eyes. This lens is normally clear and transparent. Densities within the lenses may be seen easily by your doctor, but often don’t cause problems for their victim until they become quite dense, stiff, or even opaque.

Common early symptoms include glare, altered color perception, and blurred vision. They can be congenital, inherited, or acquired from trauma, infection, radiation, drugs (especially corticosteroids or steroids, and haloperidol iron, etc.), toxins, metabolic disorders, or aging (senile cataract). Patients with diabetes mellitus (both Types 1 and 2) develop cataracts earlier.

Once the cataract is fully symptomatic and "mature," treatment involves surgery to remove the lens from its capsule to restore effective light transmission to the retina, hence restoring vision. Usually a prosthetic lens is inserted to aid in focusing light, but unfortunately cannot adjust in diameter like the natural lens could. We are seeing rapid improvements here, so stay tuned.

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